Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Rating: 3.5 of 5
Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.
I know you're really not supposed to judge a book by the cover, but what about the author? Does the same rule apply? It would be nice to know the answer to this so that my little girl crush over Wildefire author Karsten Knight is justified. With that aside, it must be said that when this lovely ARC of Wildefire made its way into my hands I was thrilled to start reading. It is not often that I pick up a book written by a male author so it was refreshing to open up the pages and to have Knight introduce his reader to a new breed of female heroine.
Ashline Wilde is anything but boring; she's quick witted, sassy, independent and strong with a shimmer of vulnerability. Knight has written from a perspective that empowers this female character and makes her someone to be admired. Ashline and her sister Eve are well thought characters that truly reflect the basic duality of good and evil. As the Adam and Eve of this story, Eve is left convincing Ashline that there is more for them than what lies in their current surroundings. She offers Ash a taste of the forbidden fruit and to join her on a journey to what she deemed to be better.
One element of this book that I truly admired was how Knight incorporated various cultures into the storyline. Each god and goddess grew up in a different part of the world and yet they have this unparalleled connection to each other. The writing method used to explain their gifts gives the reader the opportunity to see each god or goddess in their own surroundings. While their unique gifts are powerful alone, this group of young people has been drawn together so they can be used for something greater. This whole theme of unity, and of power, caught my attention and reminded me in some ways of X-Men. A group of gifted young people who are seeking understanding, solace and acceptance without being totally conscious of their need for this. Kind of a nice twist.
What I found in Wildefire was that there was so much that could have surfaced that never really had the chance to. With a handful of characters, and each of them with such unique powers, it is hard to give enough time to each one. Ashline's journey took precedence over the others which was almost bittersweet given the complexities of the rest of the gods and goddesses. It almost felt as though there are a lot of loose ends still waiting to be tied up. My fear is that a few of the stories have had the doors closed on them and that the information behind will never be uncovered.
Wildfire is an interesting read that looks at gods and goddesses from a different angle. Knight's character's are well developed, including his sharp tongued heroine, Ashline. Nearing the end of this book I was unsure as to where a sequel might even start but it was the cliffhanger that really changed everything. It was entirely unexpected but it definitely gave me a reason to want more. If you are looking for an escape from some of the vampires, werewolves and witches in your lives then I suggest taking a chance on Wildfire.